A COUPLE from Chirk admit their lives have changed after they lost 11-stone between them at a local Slimming World group.

Donna and Chris Ackerman lost four-and-a-half and six-and-a-half stone respectively in under a year after joining Chirk Slimming World group, run by Emma Thompstone.

The pair joined the group in October 2019 after putting on weight together over the course of four years after moving in together, but the pair became uncomfortable while doing the things they loved most, including travelling, and Donna said it became a struggle to just climb the stairs at home.

She said: "We had become comfortable, very comfortable, in our lives, enjoying takeaways and travelling to many gorgeous places, so as you can guess we both gained a little more weight than we care to admit was healthy.

"We both knew we needed to do something when strolling around our favourite holiday destinations made us feel hot sweaty and uncomfortable, sitting in a plane seat was a nightmare.

"Chris had developed sleep apnea which in turn meant I wasn’t sleeping as I would wake in the night to make sure he was still breathing, but we were loving life and couldn’t imagine restricting our diets."

The couple decided it was time to do something about their weight.

Fearing what the experience would be like, Donna said she and Chris were stunned at how welcoming the group was.

Donna explained: "For us it was about being healthier, it was never about fitting into a certain dress size or anything.

"On Monday, October 7 we decided to go to the Slimming World group.

"I put on my big girls pants, cried a little because they were bigger than I’d ever worn before, got scared and told Chris 'I’m not going, I can’t do this' – his reply was 'yes you can'.

"We walked through those doors expecting everyone to stop and stare and judge for the state we were in, but instead we were greeted with the gorgeous Emma’s smile and welcome.

"We listened to people’s weekly updates and noticed their support and happiness for each other.

"I remember thinking I’m never going to manage this, I might do a couple of weeks then will fall back into my usual ways, but I kept going and Chris kept coming with me.

"On that first week's weigh-in we had both lost weight. Actually between us we had lost more than a stone in our first week, Chris lost an absolutely amazing 11-and-a-half pounds and I lost five-and-a-half pounds – I remember walking away that night feeling proud, happy and excited.

"By time we had been members for six months, Chris had lost five-and-a-half stone and I had lost three stone – to say I was shocked is an understatement."

Despite the difficulty posed by lockdown, support continued at the club via online group meetings, allowing members to continue their weight-loss journeys.

And that continued support meant Donna and Chris were able to continue enjoying the foods they loved, while continuing to lose weight, thanks to the advice from group-leader Emma.

Donna said: "We’ve never lost our love of food but have gained a love of cooking fresh tasty home cooked foods and that shows in the meals we post onto our slimming world group Facebook page.

"Chris hit his weight-loss target in May 2020 and I followed closely behind him hitting my target by July 2020.

"We now have a new lease of life, feel confident in ourselves again, regularly go for walks around the local canals and hills without getting out of breath and are looking forward to being able to go away again and enjoy our new slimmer, healthier bodies."